The Winners: The final episode of Underbelly averaged 1.800 million viewers four Nine at 8.30pm. MasterChef averaged 1.781 million at 7.30pm for Ten and Nine News was 3rd with 1.689 million. Seven News averaged 1.570 million and Dancing With the Stars returned at 6.30pm for Seven and averaged a handy 1.426 million. Nine’s Customs averaged 1.378 million for the finale and RBT debuted at 7pm for Nine with 1.323 million viewers. 60 Minutes was 8th with 1.196 million people at 7.30pm for Nine and Merlin averaged 1.092 million for Ten at 6.30pm.

The Losers: Nothing really except CSI at 9.30pm, 793,000 against the 1.8 million for the final episode of Underbelly as the lead-in. Not quite good enough.

News & CA: Nine News won nationally and in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth. The 7pm ABC News averaged 864,000. Ten News averaged 698,000. SBS News at  6.30pm, 209,000 on SBS.

In the morning, definite signs of a lift from federal politics.

Weekend Sunrise on Seven wasn’t lifted, its 383,000 was around normal. But Nine’s Weekend Today lifted to average 343,000, with Laurie Oakes’ interview with Julia Gillard. Oakes showed yesterday why he’s the master. Sunrise isn’t in the political chat mix, and suffers at time like this. Insiders got a good lift as well at 9am on the ABC, averaging 276,000, which would have to be its highest non-election audience, or close to it. Inside Business was boosted as a result to 217,000 and Offsiders topped the 200,000 mark with 201,000. Next week its back to reality. Ten’s Meet The Press averaged 55,000. Landline averaged 271,000 at Noon on the ABC.

The Stats:

FTA: Nine won everywhere with Underbelly finishing. It had a share of 31.3%, from Seven with 25.6%, Ten on 19.9%, the ABC, 14.0% and SBS, 6.2%.

Main Channel: Nine also won everywhere as well with a share of 26.8%, from Seven with 24.0%, Ten on 19.9%, ABC 1, 12.1% and SBS ONE with 5.7%.

Digital: GO won with 4.5%, from ONE with 2.9% (The F1 race was live), 7TWO on 1.5%, ABC 2 and SBS TWO on 0.6% each and ABC 3, 0.3%. That’s a total share of 10.3% for the six FTA digital channels.

Pay TV: Nine won with a share of 26.5%, from Seven with 21.6%, Ten on 19.2%, Pay TV, 12.8%, the ABC with 11.9% and SBS on 5.3%. The 11 FTA channels had a total share of 87.2%, the 100 plus channels of Pay TV averaged 12.8%.

Regional: A win for Nine with WIN/NBN on 35.5% from Prime/7Qld with 24.6, SC Ten, 20.8%, the ABC, 13.9% and SBS, 5.2%. The main channels were won by WIN/NBN with 31.6%, from Prime, 7Qld with 23.0% and SC Ten, 18.6%. The digitals were won by GO with 3.9%, ONE on 2.1% and 7TWO, 1.6%.

(All shares on the basis of 6pm to midnight, combined overnight, All People).

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine and Seven shared the honours last week. Nine finished ahead in All People with a share of 26.2%, from Seven’s 26%. Ten though won the demos, thanks to MasterChef, Good News Week, Glee and The 7pm Project. Nine and Seven shared the main channels with a share of 23.1%. GO won the digitals. Year to date, Nine leads the combined overnight All People from Seven and Ten

In regional areas WIN/NBN won for the week for Nine. WIN/NBN won the regionals for Nine.

Underbelly ended last night in a rather confusion and ham-fisted way. It wasn’t a very clean or believable ending, but that was the problem with the story all along. Some accuracy, a lot of near misses and that was that. 1.8 million viewers was a good result, but it has clearly lost its oomph with viewers and fell far short of the 2 million audience that was hoped for. 713,000 people watched the finale in regional areas, so the total national audience was just over 2.5 million people.

Underbelly did well in all markets, but it showed a disconcerting trait of viewers tuning out (especially outside Sydney and Melbourne), who then returned last night in moderate numbers, a bit like viewers behaved with reality programs like Australian Idol. That means they can’t be bothered hanging around because the storyline from Sunday to Sunday isn’t strong enough to hold them, unlike MasterChef at the moment.

Nine has three Underbelly telemovies (the Underbelly Files) in production, raising doubt about series four and five. A Network that wanted to preserve the franchise would have finished it last night and brought it back in a year’s time to keep it as fresh as possible. Nine shows no sign of wanting to do that.

The most interesting bit of programming is the return of Packed To The Rafters to Seven tomorrow night at 8.30pm in a two hour episode. If it rates anywhere near its 1.8 million average for the two hours, it will win the week for Seven. Nine has pushed Top Gear back to a 8.30pm start and runs it to 10pm. Good luck.

Ten is thinking of killing off The Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance Australia next year after they failed to impress this year.

Next Sunday night Nine swings CSI and Cold Case into the 8.30pm to 10.30pm slot to replace Underbelly and CSI. Seeing CSI has been hard pressed to break 800,000 viewers at 9.30pm, it will be something of an ask.

TONIGHT: Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A after Australian Story at 8pm. Ten has MasterChef and Good News Week. Nine has The Big Bang Theory and Rescue Special Ops returns at 8.30pm. Seven has Desperate Housewives. SBS has World Cup soccer. Nine has Wimbledon.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey